Steve Brine MP

for Winchester & Chandler's Ford

22 OCT 2015

Steve Brine welcomes fair votes for English laws

Steve Brine has enthusiastically welcomed the news that the House of Commons has passed the Government's proposals for English votes for English laws.

Thursday 22nd October saw MPs, including Mr Brine, in the Chamber as the issue was debated and voted through. The changes will mean that English votes for English laws will strengthen the Union, create fairer arrangements and ensure the English have more of a voice over matters that only affect them.

The proposals, which were accepted by the House as fair and balanced, are being introduced in a considered way and will be reviewed after 12 months to ensure the process is working effectively.

Steve Brine said: "We were clear in our manifesto that we'd make Government work better, protect our electoral system and introduce English votes for English laws, answering the longstanding West Lothian Question in our democracy.

"During the last Parliament, it came up regularly, not least from the formidable Reverend Cutter who lives in the centre of Winchester and is one my regular correspondents on this subject.

"He once said to me that he feared the West Lothian Question was a fringe issue only of real interest to the politically minded and would therefore never receive an answer. Well that is not the case in Winchester and Chandler's Ford and he needn't have worried. My constituents certainly want this sorted, they voted for a manifesto that promised to sort it and this has been a long time coming."

Under English Votes for English Laws, every MP would continue to have a vote on every Bill. Where the House of Commons considers a new bill which only affects England, and where the power to make that law has been devolved elsewhere, a new Parliamentary procedure will apply. The Speaker of the House of Commons will be responsible for certifying which bills, or parts of bills, meet this test.

The procedure will see English, or sometimes English and Welsh, MPs being asked for their consent to the provisions which meet this test. They will do this in a new stage of Parliamentary consideration called the 'Legislative Grand Committee', which will let them debate the proposals and secure their consent to them.

All MPs will continue to debate and vote on legislation at Second Reading, Third Reading and Report stage. This ensures that new laws are made with the agreement of the whole House of Commons, but that English (and Welsh) laws will be made with the consent of MPs who represent those parts of the country.

Chris Grayling, Leader of the House of Commons, said: "We have delivered our commitment to introduce English votes for English laws. We are determined to strengthen the Union – we are devolving more powers across the United Kingdom, and now is the time to give the English more say over their own destiny.

"Our plans provide a fair balance by giving England more control over decisions which it alone is affected by, while ensuring that Westminster continues to be a place where those from across the UK govern in the best interests of those living within the Union."

Steve Brine added: "For me, this is unfinished business from Tony Blair's botched devolution settlement in 1997 and it has bred a resentment in England which my constituents have every right to feel. Put simply, our proposals are about fairness within the Union and strengthening it.

"The government is already legislating for further devolution to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland so it is absolutely right and fair that English MPs are explicitly asked to agree to measures affecting England on subjects where the devolved Parliaments and Assemblies can act."


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